Kickass, the doorstop dog, notes that while the keeper mentioned recent January birthdays, he missed Aldo Leopold’s on Jan.11 which marked 135 years since Leopold’s birth in 1887. (Leopold died in 1948 of a heart attack while fighting a wildfire on neighbor’s property.)
The keeper never met Leopold, but he met Leopold’s dog, and Mrs. Leopold—Estella, when he went to the Leopold home in Madison sometime in the 1960’s to do a feature story for the Wisconsin State Journal.
On the back porch of the Leopold house with Mrs. Leopold and the family dog, the keeper inadvertently discovered a number of blood-gorged ticks on the dog; and after mentioning them to a horrified Mrs. Leopold, he agreed to remove the ticks and burn them in a paper bag provided by Mrs. Leopold.
The memory of Mrs. Leopold as a gracious hostess perseveres, as does the sensation of petting the Leopold spaniel and discovering those offensive ticks, though that fact was not included as part of the resulting feature story.
The Leopold home has been designated as a Madison landmark, and the keeper plans to point it out to Phyllis some day when he is on one of his reminiscence travel tours. He will tell Phyllis about the ticks and how they represent an unusual claim to a personal incident in the life of the famous author of “A Sand County Almanac.”
The keeper is sure that she will be impressed.